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6 Mar, 2024 09:00

Pentagon claims economic bonanza from arming Ukraine

Workers from Texas to Ohio benefit from Washington’s campaign to procure arms for Kiev, Lloyd Austin has claimed 
Pentagon claims economic bonanza from arming Ukraine

The Ukraine conflict is a boon for the US economy as it has allowed more jobs to be created in the American military-industrial sector, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the White House Competition Council on Tuesday, the Pentagon chief promised that Washington would continue to push for a stronger defense industry, particularly in light of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. 

Austin claimed that American military assistance to Kiev has not only “saved lives” and kept Ukraine in the fight, but has also strengthened the US economy. 

“These investments have expanded facilities and created jobs for American workers. And the weapons that we’ve sent to Ukraine to help defend itself are made in America by American workers nationwide — from Texas, to Ohio, to Arizona,” he added.

The Ukraine conflict has also highlighted the need to improve military production, according to Austin, who stressed coordination with Washington’s allies. He further urged US lawmakers to adopt a national security package which would earmark $60 billion for Kiev. The legislation remains stalled in Congress due to opposition from Republicans, who have demanded that the White House address the security crisis on the border with Mexico.

The US has been Ukraine’s main military backer, providing Kiev with around $45 billion in arms between January 2022 and January 2024, while total commitments have reached more than $70 billion, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Reports have suggested that the US push to arm Ukraine has put a significant strain on the country’s own stockpiles.

While officials in the administration of President Joe Biden have argued that most of the funds for Ukraine are being spent inside the US, some Republicans have criticized the White House for allocating taxpayer dollars to foreign nations instead of directly tackling issues at home.

According to a December poll by the Pew Research Center, 31% of Americans believe the US is providing too much support to Ukraine, while 29% say the current level of assistance is about right. 

Russia has repeatedly denounced Western arms shipments to Ukraine, warning that they will only prolong the conflict. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in December that the US would likely continue to fuel the Ukraine conflict in 2024, as long as it gets away with drawing funds from American taxpayers.